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Collaboration in a CSCL environment : the impact of peer feedback on task performance

Vries, J.A. de (2017) Collaboration in a CSCL environment : the impact of peer feedback on task performance.

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Abstract:For effective collaboration, both cognitive processes (e.g., reasoning, and critical thinking) and social processes (e.g., developing affective relationships) have to function properly. However, the latter are still not optimal in CSCL environments: there is often no cohesiveness, no satisfaction and more conflict. Peer feedback might positively affect these processes and optimize collaboration in CSCL environments and thus enhance group task performance. Therefore, this study explored the impact of peer feedback on task performance and the attainment of domain knowledge in a CSCL environment. The participants were 33 vocational technical students who worked for approximately 270 minutes in a CSCL environment that focused on electrical engineering. They were divided in a group that received an instruction on how to collaborate and a group that, in addition to instruction, received an assessment tool that prompted them several times to give each other feedback on effective collaboration. To assess the impact of the assessment tool, task performance of the group, individual improvement of the domain knowledge, and agreement between self-ratings and peer-ratings over time were measured. Results from a Mann Whitney U test indicate that the students who worked with the assessment tool tended to have a marginal better result on the task performance, but it did not indicate a difference in individual improvement of domain knowledge. The students who worked with the assessment tool seemed to be more in sync with each other and this could be explained by the fact that exposure to the assessment tool led to more and improved communicative activities. However, it was observed that the students were not taking the assessment tool very seriously. It can be that reflection still needs practice. Furthermore, improving one’s collaborative skills takes cognitive effort and this may have hampered a positive effect. Results from a Friedman’s Test indicate no increased agreement between self-ratings and peer-ratings over time. This can be explained by the fact that the students were not motivated to use the assessment tool seriously. For further research, an anonymous assessment tool and longer sessions might be advisable. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see whether an assessment tool with a less cognitive demand would have an impact on task performance.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology, 81 education, teaching
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/72797
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